How Harbor Saw and Supply Uses Gravity Payments to Provide Customer Service with a Personal Touch
In the early days of any family-run business, everyone does a bit of everything. The team is small, processes are informal, and you have the time and flexibility to really look after customers and make them happy.
But then your business takes off, your team expands, and customers grow. You need a system in place to keep your team organized and efficient while still giving customers the warm treatment of a family-run business.
These are some of the changes Fred and Lori Lennox had to navigate as their business grew and transformed. Harbor Saw and Supply was founded in 1992 in Aberdeen, WA as an outdoor equipment dealer. It has grown considerably in the thirty years since it opened its doors.
Business operations grew more systematic as the business and team expanded. Product lines and service offerings grew over the years. All the while, they’ve continued to provide the quality customer care one expects from a family-run business.
When Gina White got started as Office Manager and Accounts Payable five years ago, she was new to the lawn and farm equipment space. Still, she hit the ground running. Harbor Saw and Supply had been using Ideal Systems Management, and while it was new to her, she found it easy to adopt and make an impact right away.
We recently spoke to her about the experience of starting at Harbor Saw and Supply, using new software, and how Harbor Saw and Supply has managed to grow while strengthening its bond with clients old and new.
Tell me a little bit about Harbor Saw & Supply. What differentiates your business from the competition?
Gina: Well, we sell lawn and garden tools, farming equipment, tractors, and accessories for tractors. We’re in a small town and what sets us apart is that we’re home-town friendly. Everyone’s a neighbor, basically.
We open accounts for a lot of the businesses. We let people do lay-away. We visit them. The majority of customers we know very well. We have quite a few long-time customers, too.
How did you get started at Harbor Saw & Supply?
Gina: I was looking for a job, they had an opening and hired me on the spot.
What was your experience like starting at Harbor Saw and using Ideal?
Gina: Harbor Saw and Supply has always been a family-owned business. The owner and three of his sons work here, and his wife worked here. She’s retired now. I took over her spot in Accounts Payable. It’s relaxing enough to enjoy your day. And there are dogs here every day, so that’s a plus.
As for Ideal, it’s pretty user-friendly. I work on Accounts Payable, physical inventory, and vendors. I do customer clean-up stuff, occasionally accounts receivable. When things get busy, I work with some of the customers. But, for the most part, I focus on accounts payable.
Could you walk me through some of the ways Ideal helps you to get things done?
Gina: Just having the information right in front of you instead of piles of invoices that you have to sort through every day by date and go, “Oh, I’ve got to pay this one.” I think just having it on the screen versus working through that pile and going, “Okay, this one’s due, this one’s due.”
Then the ability to select all the ones that are due and print off checks automatically rather than writing them off by hand makes it so much more efficient and easier to track. It also makes it easier to go back and look for information later.
How important is it to be able to go back and find information later?
Gina: It can be extremely important. With Ideal you can’t double-pay someone. The system will warn you, “You already entered this invoice.” It limits payments and confusion down the line.
Why did your team see the need to start using Gravity Payments?
Gina: I know that before things were pretty chaotic. They had a manual unit before where you just slide it across the card. You couldn’t do payments over the phone for customers which was a barrier to sales. Switching over made us far more versatile in our abilities to process payments and track things.
For example, we have an outside salesman, who travels all week long and drives hundreds of miles. With Gravity Payments, he has the ability to take credit cards when he’s on the road. That’s been helpful to him and customers.
He can do it himself, too. People might just want a pair of jeans, and they’re on his route. They don’t have to pay freight. They can pay him when he gets there which just makes it really nice.
Has that helped with the customer experience you offer at your dealership?
Gina: Yes. We even have customers outside of our state that buy a few things, and they pay over the phone. It’s convenient. Our long-term customers now just give us a credit card number, and we lock it in a file, and process it whenever they order.
That must widen the area that you can cover with your customer base then.
Gina: Yeah, definitely. Not for everything but clothes or products that we make ourselves, like our own style of different kinds of rope, have been selling like hotcakes all over the place.
Overall, what would you say your experience using Gravity Payments has been like?
Gina: It’s a good product. The support teams are also very helpful if we have any issues. They don’t make you feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about when you call to ask them a question.
Gravity is really responsive and helpful. The Ideal team’s been great. I feel like I know a couple people at Ideal pretty well now.
What advice would you give to other dealers shopping for a new dealer management system like Ideal?
Gina: Ask a lot of questions, and really think about part numbers and how you put them in there. Think through how you’re going to use it, what you’re going to do with it. Don’t just set it up and then think about what you’re going to do with it after. Consider how you do business and how you want it to work for you.
Ready to learn more about how Ideal can power your business? Reach out at 800-737-1629.